Accident General Dynamics F-16C Block 30E Fighting Falcon 86-0317,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 245458
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Date:Tuesday 8 December 2020
Time:c. 19:15
Type:Silhouette image of generic F16 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
General Dynamics F-16C Block 30E Fighting Falcon
Owner/operator:115th FW Wisconsin ANG USAF
Registration: 86-0317
MSN: 5C-423
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Hiawatha National Forest, Upper Peninsula, MI -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Truax Field, WI
Destination airport:Truax Field, WI
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On the night of 8 December 2020, at approximately 19:17 local tim, the aircraft, an F-16C, crashed into a wooded area in the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan. The pilot was operating out of the 115th Fighter Wing, Truax Field
Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin while conducting a practice Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) mission. Upon impact, the mishap resulted in fatal injuries to the MP and destruction of the aircraft.
The mishap flight was planned as a 2-ship night practice ACA mission, to include an air-to-air intercept supported by the WI Civil Air Patrol (CAP) as a Track of Interest. Due to weather conditions in Green Bay, the small CAP aircraft cancelled the intercept portion of the flight and the mishap sortie launched as a 2-ship practice scramble on a back-up instrument profile. Shortly after takeoff, upon terminating the practice scramble, the MP observed a global positioning system (GPS) degradation due to the absence of satellite tracking data. The MP elected to perform an inflight alignment of the inertial navigation system (INS). While troubleshooting the GPS no track and during the inflight alignment, the mishap element performed a lead swap. Shortly after a positive change in roles, the MA entered weather conditions, and the pilot lost visual contact with the wingman. The pilot and wingman established de-confliction via vertical and horizontal means. Subsequently, the aircraft went into a series of heading, altitude, and attitude changes. Estimated outer boundaries of the flight envelope included 90 degrees nose low attitude, 135 degrees of right bank, and 600 knots airspeed, culminating with an extreme attitude that terminated with controlled flight into terrain. There was no attempt to eject by the pilot.

The Accident Investigation Board President found, by a preponderance of the evidence, the cause of the mishap was the pilot’s failure to effectively recover from spatial disorientation. Further, the combination of night, weather conditions, the use of NVGs, low illumination, the aircraft’s altitude, attitude and airspeed, as well as the MP’s breakdown in visual scan of the available primary and standby instrumentation impacted the MP’s ability to recognize, confirm, and recover from the
unusual attitude created by the spatially disorienting event. The Board President also found, by a preponderance of the evidence, two substantially contributing factors: fixation and a degraded GPS satellite tracking system.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 6 months
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

09-Dec-2020 06:15 Geno Added
09-Dec-2020 08:00 gerard57 Updated [Total occupants, Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]
09-Dec-2020 19:39 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
11-Dec-2020 01:26 Captain Adam Updated [Total fatalities, Narrative]
11-Dec-2020 06:46 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
14-Feb-2021 18:24 Sicak Updated [Operator, Location, Source, Damage, Operator]
10-Jun-2021 13:41 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
11-Jun-2021 19:17 harro Updated [Registration, Source, Embed code, Narrative, Accident report]
19-Jun-2021 08:23 rvagast17 Updated [Aircraft type, Cn]

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